BY RICHARD CAWLEY
Lee Bowyer felt his Charlton Athletic side merited a draw against Swansea City – rather than suffering a narrow defeat at The Valley.
The Addicks lost for the second time in SE7 this season despite Jonathan Leko rifling them into a lead with less than two minutes on the clock.
Yan Dhanda’s deflected shot pulled Swansea level on 17 minutes and Andre Ayew’s goal in the second half ensured the Welsh side moved to the top of the Championship table.
Bowyer said: “It was a good, even game. Two teams that try to play. The first 15-20 minutes we were the better side. We started really well, got the early goal and then were a bit sloppy the last 20-25 minutes of the first half, it gave them a lift. They got the equaliser from a deflection, we should have defended it better – blocked the shot.
“But second half, again, it was end to end at times. It was two teams trying to win the game. It was a good game for the neutral. They get their goal from a set-piece, which is disappointing. It’s so frustrating because again my players gave me 100 per cent. I never criticise them when they give me 100 per cent. That’s all I ask.
“A draw probably would’ve been a fair result but sometimes you don’t get what you deserve.”
Chuks Aneke appealed strongly for a penalty in the second half, claiming he was obstructed by Joe Rodon. The Charlton bench were left fuming it did not get given, goalkeeping coach Andy Marshall heading straight to fourth official Charles Breakspear for an explanation.
“I don’t know,” said Bowyer. “I was a long way away from it. The refs have got the hardest jobs in the world. If we’d have got awarded a penalty, I’m sure their manager would have said it wasn’t a penalty, so he’d be moaning.
“The only thing I would say is a lot of the decisions didn’t go our way tonight. Hopefully that starts evening itself out for us because it has happened a few times for us this season already – especially big decisions.”
Bowyer made four changes to his side from the 1-0 victory over Leeds on Saturday. Adam Matthews made his debut at right-back with starts also for Jason Pearce, Sam Field and Erhun Oztumer.
“I freshened it up as best I could,” said the Addicks manager. “We’ve got to play Fulham on Saturday. I went and watched them last night – they’ve got an extra 24 hours recovery and we’re playing Saturday at 12 – it’s crazy.
“I know 100 per cent if I’d played Naby Sarr today he would never, ever have been able to play Saturday. Never. Never have recovered in time. Jonny Williams played Saturday, if he’d started tonight he’d never have been able to play on Saturday. I have to use the squad and I believe in them – I don’t think it weakened us at all.
“Pearcey came in for Naby – he’s my captain. Ozzy did well for large parts of the game. Adam Matthews did really well, first game for us. He was outstanding. Sam Field came in and did nothing wrong. The lads did well for the team.”
PICTURE BY KEITH GILLARD